Kids

Pumpkin Ribbon

Summer has definitely gone on siesta. Winter hasn’t yet hinted it's near by dropping the temperature below freezing. Autumn, though, now blusters full-blast.

There are all kinds of ways that people bring warmth into their ever-cooling lives. A few are:

  1. Sipping hot cider or cocoa
  2. Wearing sweaters or jackets
  3. Cuddling with family or friends
  4. Sitting by a fireplace or fire pit (with a grown-up observing for safety).

You can also decorate your home to represent the season. I made the pumpkin décor that you see here using yarn, paper, and fabric along with scissors, tape, and a hole-punch. The idea came from Crafts for Kids by Gil Dickinson. I traded out the spider shape on the chain (page 53), using instead the outline from the Jack-O-Lantern template (page 141). By not putting on the Jack-O-Lantern faces, Halloween ending doesn’t send this string packing. It is perfectly appropriate to display pumpkins through November.

Hello again to all the young and old superhero lovers alike! With the continuous rise and success of the superhero genre, it's only right that children's books take on the mantel of being youth's first introduction to the hero way. Now, the hero way can be described or taught in many ways, so thank goodness for these superhero books and their often
surprisingly fresh take on what it means to not just be a superhero, but a super person.

SuperFab Saves the Day
Jean Leroy and Berengere Delaporte

Jackson-Clay County Spelling Bee

Are you ready to S-P-E-L-L?

Spelling Bee season is ramping up, and this is your chance to be a part of it! Children in eighth grade and below may participate in the spelling bee if their school or homeschool group registered online. Click here to find out if your school is registered.

The youth have a hold on some of the most lively and energetic imaginations, so it's only right that children's books should reflect that same enthusiasm. No matter the subject at hand, children's books not only seek to teach, but value change, wonder, and dreams. Below are a few hand picked selections of titles that just might insight, explore, and inspire imagination.

Rules of Summer
By Shaun Tan

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan, is a simple, yet amazingly grand and eloquent story about two brothers and a summer they’ll never forget. First, to enjoy summer you have to follow the rules. Fortunately big brother knows all of the rules: Don’t leave a red sock on the clothes line, don’t eat the last black olive, never forget the password. But if your older brother is making all of the rules, no matter how absurd,when will you finally get to enjoy summer? A relationship will be tested and the story is told beautifully through its layout and approach. The clean, repetitive phrasing mixes with fantastical, darkly themed illustrations more breath taking than the last. This story makes for some truly inspiring imagination.

S is for Show Me

Show Me Missouri!

Just because we live, work, and play here does not mean that we are experts on Missouri. The library is full of resources about your state. Learn more about it, and fall in love with the many interesting facets of this place we call home.

In the middle of the United States, Missouri is where famous people like author Mark Twain, scientist George Washington Carver and President Harry S. Truman were born. Call us stubborn like the Missouri mule (our state animal), but you can’t fault us for wanting to see the sources. To verify where I found this information, go to the Kansas City Public Library’s America the Beautiful database which is full of facts about all of the states.

Other than being in it, KC is also home to the Country Club Plaza, the Steamboat Arabia museum, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial. In addition, we boast the first sizable museum focused on the history of jazz.

Paul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb

For those of us fortunate enough to have good friends in our life, we understand how important they are! Friends are fun, friends are trustworthy, and friends are there to help you when in need. Here are some fun books about characters creating new friendships!

Paul Meets Bernadette
By Rosy Lamb

Paul is a goldfish. Paul likes to swim, swim, swim all day in his goldfish bowl. Then, Bernadette dropped in. SPLASH! Bernadette is also a goldfish. Paul continues to swim, swim, and swim. Bernadette wonders why Paul swims around all day long. “What else is there to do?” Paul inquires. Bernadette begins to show Paul the wonders of the objects outside of their bowl with some of her own hilarious interpretations. Paul is not only excited to learn about the new discoveries outside of his bowl, but also excited about his new friend, Bernadette. Full of beautiful brush stroke-like illustrations, Paul Meets Bernadette is a sweet story about two new friends creating a bond through insight and exploration.

For manga or graphic novel lovers, or any fan of the sequential art form, comes Comics Plus - Library Edition! Through Comics Plus and The Kansas City Public Library, patrons with a library card and email address can checkout free e-comics. With a 10-book maximum for a 7-day checkout, kids, teens, and even adults can access a wide range of comics, classic favorites, and full manga series all from your own personal or public computer, phone, or tablet device.

Inside Comics Plus - Library Edition, you can find volumes of some of your favorite comics. Many of these texts are out of print with the publisher, but are now available at the click of a checkout button. From classic favorites like Charlie Brown and The Peanuts, Garfield, Marmaduke, and Dilbert to Viz Media titans like BLEACH, Dragonball, Naruto, and One Piece, Comics Plus has a little something for every comic book enthusiast. You may even find something new to read in the collection.

What does it mean to be part of two cultures? Kids who grow up in the United States but who are adopted from other countries ask themselves this often. They navigate the challenges and enjoy the richness of their complex heritages. In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, below are books about international adoption with parents from the United States and babies from Asia. Whether or not your family has experienced cross-cultural adoption, these stories will resound. At their center, they are about the love between parents and their children.

My Mei Mei by Ed Young is based on his real life. His older daughter, who was adopted from China, talks about the adoption of her baby sister, Mei Mei, when she was three. This story follows the tensions and delights of sisterhood.

When it comes to books about monsters, be prepared for all kinds! At a very young age, we create these creatures from the detailed corners of our imagination; it’s no surprise that there is no limit to the possibility and creation of monster stories. Below are just a few fun monster reads, either for the monster lover at heart or for someone looking for monsters with a funny and friendly side!

The Ghastly Dandies Do the Classics
By Ben Gibson

Look who’s coming, it’s the Ghastly Dandies! Who are the Ghastly Dandies you might ask? Well, they’re dapper, they’re erudite, and they’re monstrous! The Ghastly Dandies are beastly creatures who act out quick renditions of your favorite literary classics, such as Moby Dick, Frankenstein, Sherlock Holmes, Hamlet and many more. Each interpretation told by the Ghastly Dandies is funnier than the last! With amazing art and design that nicely transfers from tale to tale, The Ghastly Dandies Do the Classics is great for longtime readers who will immediately recognize the references and implications, but also great for those new to these classic literary themes and imagery.

Weasels by Elys Dolan

If you fill Dr. Evil’s lair with a slew of Alvin and the Chipmunks wannabes, you end up with Weasels by Elys Dolan.

When the weasels’ quest to take over the world is unexpectedly thwarted, chaos ensues. Is the outcome world domination? Only reading will tell, but who doesn’t like a way to explain “megalomania” to their first grader?

I read books with my daughter nightly. I read one book to her, and she reads one to me. Usually we share a different book each night. Yet, by request, we have re-read Weasels four times. We both lead parts of it. The weasels’ distinct personalities give us a chance to employ a variety of squeaky voices.

My daughter’s review: “It is funny.” Her favorite part is when the Safety and Security weasel attempts to confiscate another weasel’s drill. That weasel runs away shouting, “Without my drill, I am nothing!”

My review: “The witty wording and situations make this an appealing read for kids and their grown-ups alike.” If she chooses this book a fifth time, I will have no complaints.

With a world of unique individuals and experiences, it’s great to know that we can always explore and depend upon a variety of creative stories to reflect real world situations and garner different perspectives. Here are three great books about uniqueness, differences, and expressing your individuality.

Henny
By Elizabeth Rose Stanton

Now, I know what you’re thinking, "that chicken has arms!"
Henny is a tale about a chicken born with human arms. Henny notices right away that she isn’t exactly like other chickens. Sometimes Henny loves her arms, sometimes not so much. Henny tries to seem normal and stay positive, but it’s hard ignoring the laughs of the other animals. Through chance, Henny’s arms turn out to be incredibly helpful! Henny soon realizes that her arms are great and can do many awesome things. Get past the idea of human arms on a chicken, and you’ve got a wonderful story for anyone who has ever felt a little out of place. A useful tool for a child learning to figure out the things they are good at, with the self they have been given.

Extraordinary Warren by Sarah Dillard

We've all wondered what it would be like to be a superhero! To fly, have super strength, or weather extreme obstacles is an idea usually left for the dream space. We all can't be Spider-Man, but below are some great books that emphasize the superhero that can be found in all of us!

Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken
By Sarah Dillard

Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken is about a young, ordinary, run of the mill chicken. But Warren wants to be more than ordinary, he wants to be extraordinary! Warren doesn’t want to just peep and eat chicken feed all day long; he wants to mix it up a little bit. Warren wants to be a superhero, Chicken Supreme, with his trusty sidekick Egg by his side. All the other chickens laugh at Warren’s attempt to fly and be more than your average chicken. Warren may not have super powers, but when a conniving rat shows up to trick Warren and the other chicks into being the main course at his barbeque, Warren and Egg have to show that they are more than just a chicken and egg. Extraordinary Warren: A Super Chicken, is a fun story about finding the extraordinary in us all, even if at times we may feel a little ordinary.

Diary of  a Worm

Diaries are wonderful. People use them to share their victories, their worries, their secrets. Diaries don’t judge. No wonder kids LOVE the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. For the younger set, though, there is another fantastic group of books written in diary form.

Diary of a Worm, Diary of a Spider, and Diary of a Fly by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Harry Bliss bring humor to readers via the everyday lives of our tiny protagonists.

What holiday coming up is filled with dragon dances, fire-crackers, long-noodles, and gifts of red envelopes filled with money? Chinese New Year! There multiple choices for those who want to celebrate this holiday via the power of books. Here are a few festive options:

According to Chase’s Calendar of Events, 2014 edition, the Year of the Horse begins on January 31st and the New Year's celebration lasts for fifteen days.

The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine and illustrated by Sebastia Serra. This is a tale of a young boy named Ming and his magical wok. This cooking pan looks rusty and lacks a handle, but it is definitely special. The story has elements that mimic the tales of The Gingerbread Man, Jack and the Beanstalk, and Robin Hood. While the moral obviously warns against greed, the overall tone of the book is joyous. At the end of the book, Compestine writes that people celebrate this holiday, also known as The Spring Festival, in the ways described in the first paragraph of this blog. The author also includes a recipe for stir-fried rice.

Multiculturalism is a complex concept, and a seven-syllable word, to boot. Little kids might not be able to say it, let alone understand it. How does a kid in preschool wrap his or her head around it? Luckily, there are a few books that take this abstract idea and make it really accessible. Here are three that I like.

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